I have recently started volunteering in a new primary school. I am now volunteering in year 2 (key stage 1) I was a little nervous about being in a new setting and having to meet new teachers, children and adapt to the new school, however, my first day went great! I spent most of the day helping the children with their work and observing the school’s teaching style. It was very interesting to see the different way in which my new school runs their lessons.
In my previous work placement, the class would be taught by the same teacher throughout the day as a whole class. The children are placed into coloured groups which grouped them by their work abilities for each subject. The lesson would start with the teacher teaching the class as a whole and then they would go into their coloured tables to complete work, they would be handed different activities to suit their individual abilities. In my new placement, each year group has two classes with 30 children in each. The school runs a strategy called ‘Streaming’ for the maths and English curriculum. Streaming is where children are placed in groups according to their general academic ability. The two teachers in each year group will work alongside each other, one teaching Maths and the other teaching English. Both classes are split into two groups, one group being those with higher ability and the second group is the children who need extra support. They then swap their class around and focus purely on their subject.
I have not seen a primary school use this stagey for lessons, I was interested to hear my mentor’s opinion on this style of teaching. She confirmed it is a new method of teaching they have tried for the past year. She feels it has worked well for the children as well as the teachers. The children have a better understanding of the subject as it is taught in a way which suits their needs, less complicated for those struggling with the subject and more challenging for those meeting/exceeding. My mentor confirmed this method is very beneficial for children and teachers as they have more time to support the children and it has also made marking a lot easier sticking to marking the one subject. I have researched into the streaming strategy and have found mixed reviews with this method of teaching. Based on my research of blogs and articles I have read researchers and teachers feel streaming is only beneficial for the children exceeding expectations and can be quite damaging to those in the lower ability class, they feel it puts children in a mindset to not further challenge themselves resulting in children making slightly less progress than pupils taught in mixed attainment classes. From what I have observed on my first day is that this method is effective, I look forward to observing more lessons taught in the streaming style to see the impact it has for the teacher and pupils.